Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Olive Harvest at Orchards of Santo Tomas

This past weekend my husband, 3 year old granddaughter and I got to help harvest olives at my brother-in-law's orchard. They have over 200 trees but this harvest was from 13 trees and yielded almost 900 lbs of olives! I have to admit that I was not much help picking; I was worn out from 3 long catering days. But I did take lots of photos to share.
Madi got right to work!

It was easier for Madi to scoop them up from the tarp.

Everyone was involved, even the little ones. There was a real sense of community.

As you can see, some of the trees were tall, needing a ladder to get to the tops.

They did a demonstration on how to make small amounts of oil. First, the olives were ground in a gizmo made from a new garbage disposal, the ground olives were then placed in a ice cream mixer (sans ice) and left for about 30 min. From there the emulsified olive paste was put on filters on top of a plastic square with channels. They made a stack of the filters on the channeled plastic, which was on a sheet pan with a hole in one corner. The sheet pan with the stacks was then placed in a press. Once the press extracted all of the oil, the solids were removed from the bottom of the bucket.What remained was the pomace oil. I didn't actually see the final step, but I think you get the idea.

The bulk of the harvest ready to go to the processors.